Nutrition and Dietetics Major


Human Nutrition students

Didactic Program in Dietetics

The Nutrition and Dietetics major, also known as the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), at Seattle Pacific University provides coursework required to become a Registered Dietitian (RDN). After completing the DPD, and a baccalaureate degree, graduates are required to complete a dietetic internship. Appointments to dietetic internships are awarded on a competitive basis, and most programs use D&D Digital a national computer matching program. Following successful completion of the dietetic internship, graduates must take the credentialing exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to obtain the RDN credential.

Changes to RDN Education Requirements

"Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DPD program at Seattle Pacific University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN."

Additional information on educational requirements and the RD credential can be found from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A list of dietetic internships, (DIs), is also available on this page.

Washington State Licensure Requirements

If you plan to become a registered dietitian (RDN), note that eligibility and procedures for certification/licensure vary from state to state. The practice of dietetics in Washington State in regulated by the Washington State Department of Health and requires a state license separate from national registration. Application for licensure requires attestation of education and/or continuing education, proof of credential verification, submission of all required forms including any supplemental documents as requested, and pay all associated fees. More information on licensing requirements and application can be found through the Washington State Department of Health.

Requirements for Dietetic Technician, Registered

To become a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR), students must complete the DPD program, obtain a baccalaureate degree, and take the credentialing exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to obtain the DTR credential. More information about the DTR credential and examination can be found through the CDR website.

Mission, goals, and objectives

The mission of the Seattle Pacific University’s Didactic program in Dietetics is to prepare students to engage the culture and offer solutions to nutrition problems faced by individuals, families, and communities. Graduates are prepared to enter a dietetic internship, graduate school, and/or employment.

Program goal 1

The program will prepare competent graduates who are accepted into DI programs, the professional arena, and/or graduate study programs.


  • At least 80 percent of students complete program requirements within six years (150% of the program length).
    • For students matriculating at SPU as freshmen, this is 18 terms (six academic years; four years is the time planned for completion). For transfer and post-baccalaureate students this is nine terms (three academic years; two years is the time planned for completion).
  • At least sixty percent of program graduates apply to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  • Of program graduates who apply to a supervised practice program, at least sixty percent are admitted within 12 months of graduation.
  • The program's one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80 percent.
  • At least 75 percent of graduate school directors  will rate the academic preparation of graduates from SPU as satisfactory or higher with 12 months of graduation.
  • At least 75 percent of graduates will rate their academic preparation as satisfactory or higher.
  • At least 80 percent of students will rate their DPD academic advising as satisfactory or higher.
  • Fifty percent of students who opt to not apply to a dietetic internship or graduate program, or are not accepted into these programs, will attain employment in a food and nutrition-related field.

Program goal 2

The program will prepare graduates who participate in professional, leadership, and community service activities.


  • At least 75 percent of alumni will participate in professional, leadership, or community service activities.

    Degree requirements

    To obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition with the emphasis in dietetics, students must complete 180 credits, including 60 upper division credits. Students must complete the Common Curriculum, the Exploratory Curriculum, and all major requirements for the dietetics specialization. Other requirements include satisfactory completion of math, writing, and foreign language competencies.

    Dietetics Major Requirements

    Major requirements and suggested course sequencing for the dietetics emphasis may be found in the undergraduate course catalog. All DPD courses follow the academic calendar published annually by the university.

    Transfer Students

    Students seeking to transfer to the DPD program may have any relevant courses reviewed by the DPD Director upon transfer. See the Dietetics Handbook for more information on the review process. 

    Post-Baccalaureate and International Equivalency

    Information on the non-degree DPD pathway for post-baccalaureate students and students seeking international equivalency can be found in the DPD for Non-Degree Students page and the Dietetics Handbook.

    Entering the Major

    This program is a limited enrollment major and has a competitive application process. Students must satisfactorily complete prerequisite and GPA requirements prior to major application.  Consult the undergraduate catalog for complete major application information including degree requirements, major application requirements, and relevant deadlines.

    Applying for the Major

    The major application is accessed through Banner, review the Nutrition and Dietetics Application Instructions for access instructions. Submitting GPA is an application requirement. Use this GPA Calculator to calculate your current GPA. 

    Program costs

    All student costs, including tuition, other fees, and opportunities for financial aid are established at undergraduate rates. Program-specific costs also apply. A summary of estimated annual costs is available in the table below. 

    Estimated Program Fees
    (2022-23 Academic Year)


    Student activities and technology fee


    Textbook, supplies, and personal expenses


    Lab fees


    Food Handler's Card (one time cost)


    Additional information about estimated student costs can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. Financial aid is available for students pursuing the Nutrition and Dietetics degree. SPU's Student Financial Services offers more information on types of financial aid, scholarships, and how to apply. Full-time undergraduate students may also be eligible for Family Consumer Sciences Scholarships awarded by the FCS department annually.  More information about the FCS scholarships can be found here.

    Complete program information

    View complete information about the DPD program in the Dietetics Handbook (PDF).

    Faculty Contact

    Catalina Vlad-Ortiz

    Assistant Professor of Nutrition; Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics
    MS, Eastern Illinois University

    Phone: 206-281-2763
    Office: Peterson Hall 211

    SPU students on campus

    Program outcomes

    Program outcomes include:

    • Five-year internship acceptance rates are 90%.
    • The five-year RD one-year exam pass rate is 90.74% — 84th percentile nationally.

    Want other program outcomes? Contact program director, Catalina Vlad-Ortiz, MEd, MS, RD, CD, at

    Dietetics Handbook

    View complete information about the DPD program in the Dietetics Handbook (PDF)

    Dietetics Accreditation

    Seattle Pacific University's Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

    Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics

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